Sitting out this cycle

As expected after less week’s negative early pregnancy test, AF arrived on Friday. I was actually quite pleased that she made an appearance on time (actually 12 hours early) as it meant that I could get on with enjoying the bank holiday weekend without constantly wondering if I could be pregnant.

I went out at the weekend and bought a large box of OPKs, my instant feeling when AF arrived was that I was going to take control of TTC and maximise our chances of getting pregnant this month. However, after thinking about it a bit more yesterday and having a chat with the boy, we’ve decided to take control in a different way this month. We’re going to sit out this cycle and use condoms if we want to have sex during my fertile period!

Yes you read that correctly. After being desperate to get pregnant again as soon as possible, we’ve done a full 360 and decided not to try to conceive this month. The main reason for this is the holiday we are taking next month. We are off in just over five weeks time which means that if we did get pregnant this month the morning sickness I got with my first pregnancy could kick in just as we headed off on our trip. Also, I’ve been looking at all of the things I want to do while we’re there: horse riding, spa day with massages, mountain biking, eating seafood by the bay, drinking champagne. None of which I would be able to do if I was pregnant. Add to that the fact that I would be constantly worried about the pregnancy and the risk of miscarrying abroad and it just seems like a sensible decision to sit this month out, enjoy our holiday and get fully immersed in TTC (including using the OPKs) upon our return. Unless of course we are lucky enough to make a holiday baby!

I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about the decision but I think that in the long term a 4 week gap is not going to make a difference and I’m hoping the break and a fantastic carefree holiday with the boy will bring me a renewed energy and maybe help me to feel a little more emotionally ready for trying again. I think I would be completely crushed if I got pregnant and avoided doing lots of the things I’m hoping to do on holiday only to lose the baby anyway shortly after our return or even worse to have a miscarriage while we are on holiday.

Are we everyone else’s infertile couple?

Everyone knows someone that something unusual or unlikely has happened to. Someone who’s won the lottery. Someone who’s been struck by lightening. Someone who’s had a top 40 chart hit. Someone who can’t have a baby.

This evening ANOTHER set of friends have just announced their pregnancy and it has left me wondering. Are we destined to be everyone else’s infertile couple?

What’s the plan?

What’s the plan? That is a question I ask all the time. What’s the plan for the day? What’s the plan for this weekend? For this project? For dinner? There always has to be a plan, it makes me happy to know what I’m supposed to be doing. I have short term plans (what am I doing at work today?) and long term plans (where do I want to be in 5 years time?). If you’re a planner then miscarriage is a b**ch!

It’s been 7 weeks since my last miscarriage and I find that I can go for many hours without thinking about it. It no longer overwhelms me or takes over my day but whenever it comes to planning anything more than a few days away it’s back reminding me that nothing is certain or within my control.

My sister got engaged at the weekend (eek I’m so excited for her!) and she has asked me to be a bridesmaid which I am thrilled about. The problem is they are getting married next August and I have no idea what will be happening then. Will I be pregnant? Will we have a baby? Will we have had more miscarriages? Ive not said this to her (or anyone except you guys) as I know that in reality it really won’t matter. Unless I’m actually in labour I’m going to be at the wedding so why think about the circumstances? But I’m a planner and I don’t like being so out of control.

It’s not just long term things like important family weddings. My husband asked me at the weekend what we are doing for Christmas this year? Answer, I don’t know it depends when happens with our TTC journey over the next few months. Even planning this weekend is dependant on AF. She’s due tomorrow and we’re supposed to be going to a party but I know that if she arrives im going to feel sad and probably won’t feel like partying. Equally if she doesn’t arrive I won’t be drinking and will have to face the questioning looks when I order a soft drink.

So I’ve found that rather than having one plan I’ll now have two, three sometimes even more. A plan for every eventuality!

Why do I not learn?

Why oh why don’t I learn? After saying this morning that I wasn’t symptom spotting, I went one worse and took a first response pregnant test! Stupid I know! My period is not even due until Saturday at the earliest but I was driving myself mad thinking about it as I’ve been getting all of my usual pregnancy symptoms (which coincidentally are very similar to AF symptoms so not very helpful). Needless to say it was negative but as it is so early I’m still thinking that might be wrong.

So now im still driving myself mad symptom spotting but I’m also feeling far less optimistic, a little depressed, annoyed with myself for testing too early and ¬£10 poorer!

Next month I will promise myself that I won’t do this again. But I probably will!

Don’t ask, don’t tell

Why is miscarriage such a big secret? One in four women who conceive a child will suffer a miscarriage. 1 in 4 (25%) it’s the same dreaded statistic as the number of people who will get cancer in their lifetime and yet cancer is one of the most discussed illnesses. It features in films, TV dramas, literature, magazine articles. There are numerous charities dedicated to cancer that spend thousands of pounds on advertising their cause. There are events organised across the country every weekend where people share their cancer experiences. They wear t-shirts proclaiming to the world that they survived cancer and this fantastic feat is universally celebrated.

Miscarriage couldn’t be more different. We are made to feel as if we shouldn’t tell anyone. We should spend months trying to hide our first trimester symptoms and if people make comments implying that they have guessed our secret we are supposed to actively deny it. Early pregnant is one of the worlds biggest secrets and all because of the fear of miscarriage.

I didn’t announce my pregnancy to the world but never felt that I should keep it from my close friends and family. I knew the risk of miscarriage and that I would want those people to know if it happened to me. I couldn’t imagine going through the pain of losing a child alone. Yet I still felt guilty when my miscarriage happened. Had I tempted fate by telling people? If I’d just kept it a secret like I should have done I would have spared them the pain of my loss.

I work with a girl who just loves pregnancy spotting and if she identifies a likely candidate she drops so many hints that she knows your secret! Yet she says she would never want to actually know if she is right because she doesn’t want to know about a miscarriage.

It is people like her that made me email all of the women in the office the day that I discovered my second miscarriage. I knew that they knew I was pregnant. I hadn’t been drinking at the office party two weeks before, I’d been drinking decaf tea for months, I regularly left my desk when hit with a wave of nausea and i had so many indications from them that they knew I was pregnant although they seemed to think that if they didn’t actually ask then it was ok to say things like “oh you won’t be coming to the Christmas party this year will you” [smile and wink]. I couldn’t cope with the weeks of looks, comments and whispers as it slowly dawned on them that something had gone wrong with my pregnancy. So to spare them and myself from “bump watch” I told them that yes I had been pregnant but I had lost the baby. I felt like a maverick and that I was somehow doing something wrong but from the moment the email was sent I felt relieved that it was no longer a dark secret.

I really hope that miscarriage stops being so taboo. Why should we have to suffer something as horrid alone and why should we have to hide our mental and physical pain, pretend that everything is ok and cope with comments such as “do you not want a baby”, “are you going to try for a family soon” and “you’ll be next” whilst feeling like we are dying a little inside?

Will I ever have a confident pregnancy again?

It’s Saturday! I survived Friday and all of the maternity leave related excitement. Thank you to the people who wrote lovely comments on my blog yesterday, it is really comforting to know that other people feel the same and to know that whilst my jealous, self centred thoughts might not be very becoming, they are normal and not something to feel unduly ashamed of. Not that I would announce those thoughts to people outside of my lovely blog world (and my husband).

This week the wife of a friend at work gave birth to their first child (yes the whole world is having babies). She was 10 days over due and whilst the pregnancy had been fairly straight forward, other than her looking like she was full term carrying twins from about six months onwards (pregnant bodies seem to vary hugely and be largely outside of the control of their owners) meaning that her usual love of exercise had to be put on hold for a while, all went well. Until about a week ago. Getting rather frustrated about her lack of mobility, lack of sleep and general desire to meet their baby, she was delighted to finally start contractions. These lasted all day, gradually getting stronger. Her husband left work, ready to meet his child and start paternity leave and they prepared for heading to the hospital. And then NOTHING. Contractions stopped, false alarm, back to waiting. This was a little frustrating to say the least but they were assured by the hospital that it was nothing to worry about. If the baby didn’t make an appearance in the next five days she would be induced.

Two days before the induction date it all kicked off again. Contractions got stronger, they phoned the hospital and were told to wait until they were a bit closer together. Not wanting to risk the whole thing stopping again, they decided to ignore this advice and went to the hospital instead. And lucky for them and baby that they did as it turns out that the baby was in distress. A moment of panic, a general anaesthetic, an emergency C-section and baby was here! As a result of his slightly dramatic arrival they have both spent a few extra days in hospital but have now returned home to start their life as a family.

Hearing this account made me wonder, will I ever have a confident pregnancy? Even if I did manage to make it past a 12 week scan seeing a healthily little baby waving at me, would I truly be able to breath I sigh of relief or have my miscarriage experiences turned me into a life long worrier?

I’m aware that pregnancy can be a difficult time and that there are many risks but I’m not a huge worrier and was always able to find comfort in statistics. I lived in my very happy world were bad things only ever happened to other people. When I found out I was pregnant for the first time I was super confident. I had intense nausea (surely a good sign), I was amazingly tired (another good sign), I couldn’t hug people because my boobs hurt so much (triple whammy of good signs). Nothing could go wrong. I didn’t even contemplate the thought that I wouldn’t be showing off scan photos from 12 weeks. But it didn’t work out like than, and now I’m not so confident. My faith in statistics has been rocked. Just because there is only a 2% chance of something happening definitely doesn’t mean it won’t happen (and happen to me).

The magnitude of the journey ahead feels too much to comprehend at the moment so I keep it broken down into little milestones:
* A BFP (probably quite a few, I generally need the reassurance of POAS every few days, although I don’t know why I find it reassuring as I have had lovely strong blue lines on both days that my miscarriages were confirmed, but none the less I’m sure I’ll still do it next time).
* Make it to 8 weeks with no bleeding. I don’t know why I think of 8 weeks as a massive milestone but it feels like it is confirmation that I am definitely pregnant. My period is usually fairly regular so if I don’t have one for two months then that is a pregnancy milestone in my head.
* Make it to 12 weeks with no bleeding and see a healthy baby on my scan.
* Begin second trimester.

And that is as far as it goes. I feel as if the second trimester is the goal. Hopefully getting there will result in a huge sigh of relief and I’ll find the happy go lucky no worrying girl that I lost at my first 12 week scan. I imagine in my head that she is still there, in the scan room waiting for the right result. The result which she should have seen first time round. And she’ll be given the scan photos she was dreaming of and will skip out of the hospital happy and jolly and bursting to tell the news to her friends and to post the scan pictures all over Facebook as she will never have considered that there might be people who don’t want to see them. I very much hope that she is there and that I’ll meet her at my next 12 week scan (hopefully in the not too distant future). I miss her!